For most of our novena the gospel readings at Mass are from the 11th and 12th chapters of Matthew’s gospel, which deal with the growing opposition to Jesus as he preaches and performs miracles in Galilee. It’s a rather dark section of the gospel.
Jesus is opposed by the Pharisees, who now take “counsel against him to put him to death” (Matthew 12.14) and by “this generation” of Israelites, the towns “where most of his mighty deeds had been done.” (Matthew 11,16-19). He meets little success.
Concluding this section, Matthew adds another source of opposition to Jesus that may surprise us. His own family from Nazareth seems to oppose him.
Yet, in this bleak section of the gospel, when so many turn against him, Jesus praises his Father, Lord of heaven and earth, “for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Matthew 11,25)
He praised those who have the spirit of the child and keep it. Certainly, St. Ann taught her daughter Mary that spirituality. On this day of the novena, we will reflect on it.
St. Leo the Great, an early pope, said that becoming like a child– remember Jesus told his disciples to become like little children– does not mean going back to infancy physically. It means, like children, to be free from crippling anxieties, to be forgetful of injuries, to be sociable, and to wonder before this world.